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Weighty thoughts

A friend of mine, who like me happens to be a fat guy (and a very handsome one -- secretly, he's who I always want to look like), posted the following two links yesterday in a personal blog entry. They sort of tie into some of my own issues, so I thought I'd repost and talk a little about where I'm at. (The text linking to the articles is also his, as I couldn't think of any better way it could be said ...)

An article that you should not read if you're fat and not feeling totally comfortable with that right now.

A response to said article.

I'm not going to talk about the article per se, particularly since the response is a far more well thought-out and said than I would be able to come up with. But when I read both the article and the response, the dialogue felt very familiar. I've dealt with a lot of issues of guilt about my weight and what other people must think of me, and of course I've dealt with a lot of issues regarding what I think of me, and still do work through those pretty regularly. Some days I do better, some days not so well.

But it particularly resonated for me because I've been on a 'diet' for a couple of months now -- really just cutting back and watching my calories a lot, since with my leg I can't really increase my exercise in tremendous ways at the moment. The reasons for dieting came from several directions -- mainly, the fact that the specialist kept telling me at every appointment about my leg that it was going to make a big difference if I could lose some weight (and I've been dealing with this leg thing since April; I'd really like for it to heal up completely), but also because I've sort of steadily gained bit by bit since the divorce and living on my own, and I wanted to try to become more aware of my eating patterns and where I was really sort of letting myself indulge more than I should.

And all of that is fine -- those are I think some pretty valid reasons, and I haven't been denying myself constantly -- if I'm out with my friends, or when Anne was down the other weekend, I still eat things I want to eat (while entering them all into my calorie counter). I've done pretty well with it so far; in the past few months I've lost about 20 pounds, and I feel like I can keep going from there. I don't have a real 'target' of any sort, and I don't plan to be this ascetic about it after the move; one of the many things I'm looking forward to is sharing meals and cooking experiences with Anne and exploring new restaurants and foods and adventures of that sort.

Where it's not so fine is that it's so easy to slip into this weight-loss mindset where I'm wondering if anyone 'notices', and seeking their approval, and weighing myself every day in hopes that I can casually mention that I've lost another pound or two. And this is where I think it ties into the articles above, because I think a lot of why I get into that view of it is because I still feel like people must be judging me by my weight, that somehow my popularity and attractiveness and general worth are affected by how fat I am. I feel like if I take up less space on the subway, if I can fit into smaller sizes and don't have to ask for armless chairs or a table instead of a booth in certain restaurants, somehow that makes me a better person in ways that aren't related at all to my health, and I don't like that my mind still heads in those directions.

I guess it's just one of those things you keep chipping away at. I've made some great strides in the past few years in other parts of my self-image, realizing that I shouldn't make assumptions or judge myself more harshly than other people. This is just one place I keep having to come back to for further examination.

I try to look at myself the way I look at my friends -- the person from whom I got the links above I think is incredible, and I've always had a little crush on both him and his wife, who are both beautiful wonderful fat people. And Anne, who is amazing and gorgeous and brilliant and dammit, I won't ever allow my own issues to keep me from being affectionate with her in public and private and anywhere in between. And my other friends and loves who have struggled with these issues and are inspirational in so many ways they don't even know.

Dammit, at some point I'm going to make it to the revolution.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 27th, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
It's so weird how we judge ourselves so differently from how we judge others. Despite all the negative thoughts that those posts brought up for me about myself, I've also never felt the slightest inkling to apply that to friends and lovers. I try my best to see that double standard and tear it down also, but also with extremely variable success.

There's a good story that clawfoot in particular likes to remind me of about perspective. One day, I was browsing BiggerCity's galleries. (BiggerCity is a personals site for fat gay and bi men, but in addition to member galleries, it also has galleries of thematic photos and videos that people have gathered and uploaded for other members' enjoyment.) I'd flipped through a few pages without finding that much interesting, when suddenly I saw one thumbnail of a guy, naked, bent over on all fours and thought, "Oooo! He's pretty hot! Let's get a better look at that!" and clicked through, upon which I came to the realization that it was a picture of me! (Sadly, the first thing I recognized about it was the bedspread.) And of course, after the initial moment the picture underwent a transformation where suddenly I was only seeing flaws and shortcomings, but it was undeniable that right up until the moment I realized it was me, I was really into that photo.

P.S. You are totally a hottie. :)
Oct. 27th, 2010 05:07 pm (UTC)
*grins* that's an awesome story
Oct. 27th, 2010 07:16 pm (UTC)
Hee. :)
Oct. 28th, 2010 04:12 am (UTC)
Great story. Many people have body image issues. I hate everything from my shoulders up. And although I have a logical feeling that the rest of me is OK, I have emotional issues with wearing anything that is really flattering or attractive.
Oct. 27th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
I was reading about this moronic article on Jezebel yesterday (http://jezebel.com/5673680/what-was-marie-claire-thinking-with-this-fatties-piece?skyline=true&s=i) and was just shaking my head that this woman thought it was a good idea to post this.

Jezebel noted something interesting. Apparently the author later wrote an "apology/explanation" in the comments that stated that she had, at one time, been anorexic. I have to wonder if the cruelness she displayed in the article had a lot to do with her personal struggles with her own body image.

Not an excuse for being a jerk, but maybe an explanation.
Oct. 27th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I did see that. I don't consider her apology (or that of the magazine) to be terribly apologetic, but of course there can be circumstances that affect someone's attitudes. I think I was more focused on how the subject brought up my own thoughts about how I feel regarding my weight, particularly in public.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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